Serving others is an important part of Christian life, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. With so many different ways to serve, our annual Thanksgiving Box Project, in collaboration with Scranton Road Bible Church, is a simple and meaningful service opportunity that connects you to others at Parkside as well as to our friends and neighbors in the near westside of Cleveland.
“When we serve together, life happens,” says Joe Abraham, senior pastor at Scranton Road Bible Church. “We are diverse in so many different ways, but when we worship together, we come together.”
More Than a Meal
For the past 32 years, the Thanksgiving Box Project has provided more than 300 complete turkey dinners to families in the Tremont and Clark-Fulton neighborhoods of Cleveland. While the meals feed families in need, the personal care that each box represents provides the spiritual connection that helps Scranton Road build a meaningful rapport with the people in the community.
He would prefer to say it face-to-face, but Pastor Abraham is hugely thankful to everyone who participates for their continued support for the Thanksgiving Box Project. It has thrived for more than 30 years and he hopes that it will continue over time, Lord willing.
There are four major components of service that make up the Thanksgiving Box Project:
- Make a box (filled with food and supplies)
- Pay for a turkey
- Load the truck
- Deliver the meals
As we remind ourselves that the “body does not consist of one member, but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:14), we know that it takes many different people with different abilities to make the Thanksgiving Box Project a success.
A Creative and Efficient Approach
For one midweek life group, making the boxes is the challenge they take on. Stephanie Burney and Tracy Villers get the ball rolling for their Bainbridge Life Group by offering to collect money and committing to one night of shopping. This step helps the group’s busy families and working individuals by allowing them to participate through their financial support. As they divide the responsibilities—one takes on the research and calculations of a basic box (see sheet below) determining how many can be made, the other joins in for the shopping. Together they are able to enter a store knowing exactly what they need and how much of it to get. “It’s easy and fast, and we’re having fun,” says Tracy. Once the ingredients are purchased, other members of the group help assemble and supplement the boxes while the kids from group add encouraging notes and cards.
Whether you make a box (or a few), donate money for the turkeys, load the truck, or deliver the meals, there is a place for you to serve.
Below are some tips and links to help you get started:
Shopping for a group?
*Download Bainbridge Life Group’s handy Thanksgiving Box Calculator to see how many boxes your group’s donation can create.
Want to encourage your friends to help?
Meet for coffee or dessert and then shop together.
Can’t find a box with a lid?
Due to a special donation this year, 12"x18" cardboard boxes are available for pick-up to use for the project. Pick one up at the storage room across from the bookstore.
Prefer to do the heavy lifting?
Volunteer to help load the truck, or show up at Scranton Road to help deliver the boxes.
Ready to shop?
Download the shopping list for creating a box here.
Drop your donation for a turkey in the offering plate with a note indicating that it’s for the “Box Project.”